USAA Survey Data Shows Inflation Affecting Discretionary Spending; Retirement Preparations Largely Untouched

SAN ANTONIO – Inflation is top-of-mind for most Americans, as a majority say that they have reduced household spending in many areas except when it comes to retirement savings and life insurance. A new USAA Life Insurance Company survey explored how American civilian and military-connected families are faring in today’s economy and the financial decisions they are making as a result. While 55% of civilian and 56% of military-connected families—those who have family members serving or have served in the military—said they have already made spending cuts, less than 20% of both groups report having made reductions in their life insurance expenses.


The areas most affected by household spending cuts are discretionary spending and vacation planning. In fact, consumers were almost twice as likely to reduce spending in these areas over retirement plan contributions, cybersecurity protections, and life insurance.


“This year’s study shows that, as expected, consumers are adjusting their household spending due to the economy and inflation,” said Brandon Carter, president of USAA Life Insurance Company. “However, this hasn’t affected spending on critical, long-term financial products like retirement savings, investments and life insurance.”


Additional findings in this second annual survey show a stark contrast between military-connected and civilian households in their extent of preparedness. Data shows that 53% of military-connected respondents say that their current level of life insurance is sufficient to cover all debts and replace five years of income, versus only 39% of civilians. Correspondingly, 84% of military respondents agree that if they were to die today, they are confident their family would remain financially secure versus 71% of civilians.


For those who do not currently have life insurance, this decision is largely considered through a financial lens. Those who reported being uninsured either say it costs too much (29% military and 31% civilian) or they have sufficient financial resources without it (27% military and 13% civilian)—both statistics showing little change from our 2021 survey.


From an overall financial health standpoint, survey respondents report their current household debt estimate to be virtually unchanged from 2021. While 55% of military-connected report having up to $75,000 of debt, just 58% of civilian households report the same.


“Preparedness is key when it comes to dealing with uncertain financial situations like high inflation or unexpected death,” said Carter. “Life insurance may be an uncomfortable topic, but it can make an enormous difference for your family in the event of an unexpected death.”


Additional findings from the 2022 survey include:


  • Only about half of civilians (48%) and 60% of military-connected households have life insurance.

  • Remarkably 70% of military-connected and 59% of civilians are worried that inflation is reducing spending power in retirement and/or their life insurance plan.

  • An unclear or perceived high monthly cost is a contributing factor to why these respondents do not have life insurance (31% of civilians and 29% military-connected respondents). 

  • Money is seen as the most important instrument when passing wealth down in the family (45% civilian and 42% military-connected).

  • Only 33% of civilian and 41% of military respondents who are parents have had discussions with their children about long-term financial planning.

  • Slightly more than one-third of Americans are confident that they are financially prepared to care for their aging parents.

  • A majority of respondents, 67% of military respondents and 57% of civilians, report they are comfortable discussing plans for an unexpected death with their families.

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Producer note: USAA spokespersons are available for interviews about the new Life Insurance survey as well as the impact inflation has on USAA members. 


About USAA’s Life Insurance Survey

This research was conducted by KRC Research from June 1 to June 8, 2022, via an online survey of 2,003 Americans ages 18-75 representing both the military connected and civilian populations. The sample breakdown is as follows: n=1,000 civilians and n=1,003 military. Military representation included approximately 800 veterans and 200 currently serving—representative of the military population as a whole.


About USAA

Founded in 1922 by a group of military officers, USAA is among the leading providers of insurance, banking and investment and retirement solutions to nearly 13 million members of the U.S. military, veterans who have honorably served and their families. Headquartered in San Antonio, Tex., USAA has offices in eight U.S. cities and three overseas locations and employs more than 37,000 people worldwide. Each year, the company contributes to national and local nonprofits in support of military families and communities where employees live and work. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit


Life insurance and annuities provided by USAA Life Insurance Company, San Antonio, TX and in New York by USAA Life Insurance Company of New York, Highland Falls, NY. All insurance products are subject to state availability, issue limitations and contractual terms and conditions. Each company has sole financial responsibility for its own products.

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